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Third Australian Detained In Iran Identified As University Of Melbourne Lecturer

The family of an Australian woman being held in an Iranian jail has released a statement describing the ordeal as "distressing".

Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert has been named as the third Australian imprisoned in Iran, following reports earlier this week that a travel blogger couple had also been detained there 10 weeks ago.

Moore-Gilbert's family released a media statement on Saturday saying they continued to be in close contact with the Australian Government.

Photo: Supplied

"Our family thanks the Government and the University of Melbourne for their ongoing support at this distressing and sensitive time," the statement read.

"We believe that the best chance of securing Kylie’s safe return is through diplomatic channels."

Earlier this week, local media reported Moore-Gilbert, a University of Melbourne lecturer, was arrested last year and charged and convicted of unknown offences, and sentenced to 10 years jail.

READ MORE: Aussie Travel Blogger Couple Detained In Notorious Iran Prison

READ MORE: Three Australians Have Been Detained In Iran

On Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said the woman had been detained for "a number of months" but declined to reveal what the charges against her were.

"This is a matter of deep concern to the Government, to me personally as Foreign Minister and, I note, to the people of Australia," Payne told the Senate during Question Time earlier this week.

"Since they were detained, the Australian Government has been pressing the Iranian Government for their release."

Payne said she had communicated with her Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zerif "many times" about the three Australians and said officials had been working "very hard" to secure their release.

The Government has been making efforts to ensure they are treated fairly, humanely and in accordance with international norms.

According to the University of Melbourne website, Moore-Gilbert is a Melbourne Early Career Academic who specialises in Middle Eastern politics, including on the Arab Gulf states.

She has published work related to issues on Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) politics, the 2011 Arab uprisings and authoritarian governments and the role of new media technologies in political activism, according to the website.

In a statement released on its website on Saturday, the University of Melbourne said it "has been and will continue to be in close contact with the Australian Government and Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert’s family".

The University echoed the family's statement that "the best chance of securing Kylie’s safe return is through diplomatic channels".

Her family has said they will not be providing any further comment as they continue to work with authorities to secure Moore-Gilbert's release.

It comes just days after the families of the two other detained Australians released a statement saying they hoped to see the pair return safely home soon.

Mark Firkin and Jolie King were captured in Iran over two months ago, reportedly for flying a drone without permission.

Mark Firkin and Jolie King, detained in Iran. Photo: Facebook

The pair had been travelling across the world since 2017 and had been documenting their travels on social media and on their website, The Way Overland.

Their last published photo was shared on June 26 from the Naryn region in the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan.

Mark Firkin and Jolie King, detained in Iran. Photo: Instagram

During their travels, the pair had amassed a strong social media following of almost 20,000 people, and fans had noted their absence from the platform several weeks before news of their detainment was confirmed.

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au